Contracts of Employment/Garden leave

Key Points

  • Garden leave is the term given for requiring an employee who resigns or is dismissed to ‘work’ out their notice (accordingly it is not relevant to dismissals without notice) but not providing him/her work and instead often (sending) him/her home.
  • In short, the employee is still employed, paid and has rights and duties from the employment relationship, but he/she is not actually being given any work to do and is instead being paid to do nothing (ie to spend time in their ‘garden’ at home).
  • The idea is to keep the employee out of the market place by relying upon the notice clauses, thus preventing loss of confidential information and/or simply preventing competition.
  • Garden leave, which applies during an employment relationship, is accordingly different from restrictive covenants that apply after the employment relationship has ended, although it may be possible for an employer to rely upon both (that is put someone on gardening leave and once this ends to seek to rely upon restrictive covenants).
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